by: Charles Reading [ ]
Considered a ‘paper panzer’ because it was never put into production, the Panther Ausf. F (Sd.Kfz171) was the next model in line for production when the war came to an end.
Although there were numerous improvements in design over the ‘G’ model, the most noticeable were the Schmalturm, or redesigned turret, and lack of a muzzle brake on the gun.
This kit is one of Cyber-Hobby’s “orange value pack” series. The kit consists of the original molding Panther II released by Dragon some years ago. The kit hasn’t been re-tooled or upgraded with an aluminum barrel and includes minimal photo-etch. What they do include in the kit is an early release figure kit “German Volkssturm” and a sprue of new pioneer tools. The pioneer tools have the brackets molded onto them, however the detail is very nice and considerably easier that making them out of photo-etch. The photo-etch fret included in the kit has the vent covers and screens.
Sprue A: drive wheels and idler wheels, storage boxes, misc. hull parts and original kit pioneer tools
Sprue B: Hull top, rear hull, misc. smaller hull pieces
Sprue C X4: steel road wheels Sprue C X2: exhaust components, side rail, and unused parts
Sprue D: Schmalturm, barrel pieces
Sprue E: X4: individual track links
Sprue F: lower hull
Sprue K: New molded pioneer tools
MA : photo-etched vents and screens
Z: a 140mm length of nylon string for the tow cable
The decals are generic since no complete Panther II ever saw battle. The decal sheet has an ample amount of numerals; red with white outline. Various ‘kill’ markings and barrel victory rings and three white German crosses.
If there is any improvement to this kit it has to be the instruction sheet/booklet. Maybe it’s that the original kit was far simpler but the assembly instructions are 12 steps and all are easy to read and understand, unlike some of the newer kit instructions. The instruction sheet also contains the painting guide for the tank in typical shades of grey and pale blue with a key for Master Model Colors and a color rendering for the German Volkssturm. Ironically there is no breakdown of the figure parts, although their assembly should be somewhat self explanatory.
I’ve always liked the Volkssturm figures for their greatcoats and interesting poses. A simple switch of the heads with Hornet heads and these figures are very nice. Oh, a pair of photo-etch glasses come with the figure set.
Since the newer kits are in the $50-60 range the price is pretty reasonable. You can still make a nice kit of this OOB if you are willing to overlook some of the deficiencies with the original kit. If you are willing to spend some of the money saved buying the ‘value pack’ you can add more detail and make the kit as accurate as possible.